Friday, October 15, 2010

Beyond the Amateur Look (Part 4 of 6)

In the three previous blogs, I've focused on the manuscript look for articles or stories. If you're submitting a book-length manuscript, there are a few differences.

1. Use a cover sheet and write your title and by-line half-way down the page. Follow that with the genre, such as: Historical Fiction of 80,000 words; Autobiography of 70,000 words. Most editors and agents tell you to put in the number of words. If you do, round them off. Don't write 78, 349 words but "about 80,000 words." It's an approximation and by the time your manuscript has been accepted and edited, it may run only 70,000 or 85,000.

I don't list the number of words. My reasoning is that if the publisher wants only 50,000 and you have 85,000, that's a good reason to reject you. Or if you have 90,000 words and they want only 50,000. If they turn you down, let it be for a different reason.

2. At the bottom of the cover page, centered or at the far left, list your name, address, phone number, and email address. It would look like this:

Cecil Murphey
Street Address
Email address
Phone number

3. On the next page, start one-third of the way down the page for the first chapter or introduction. Every chapter begins a third of the way down the page. Don't renumber for each chapter.

4. Always address the manuscript to the editor you want to receive your material. Don't send to "Fiction Editor." If you don't know the person's name, go online to the publisher's site or phone the company and ask, "Who is your fiction editor?" Make certain you spell the name correctly and get the proper gender of the editor.

Looking professional
is one important aspect of being professional.

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